Home Washington Press Releases 2009 D.C. Lobbyist Indicted for Conspiring to Violate Sudanese Sanctions and to Act as Illegal Agent of Sudan...

D.C. Lobbyist Indicted for Conspiring to Violate Sudanese Sanctions and to Act as Illegal Agent of Sudan

U.S. Department of Justice October 27, 2009
  • Office of Public Affairs (202) 514-2007/ (202) 514-1888

WASHINGTON—Robert J. Cabelly, 61, of Washington, D.C., has been indicted in the District of Columbia in an eight-count indictment charging him with conspiracy to violate the Sudanese sanctions regulations and to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign power, four counts of violating the Sudanese sanctions regulations, as well as one count apiece of money laundering, passport fraud and making false statements.

The unsealing of the indictment against Cabelly was announced today by David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Channing D. Phillips, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia; Joseph Persichini, Jr., Assistant Director for the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Adam J. Szubin, Director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Cabelly, who was the principal and managing director of a Washington, D.C. consulting firm and a former State Department employee, is scheduled to appear in federal court today in the District of Columbia at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson. If convicted, he faces up 20 years in prison on each of the substantive Sudanese Sanctions Regulations counts, 20 years for the money laundering count, 10 years for the passport fraud, and five years each for the conspiracy and false statement counts.

According to the indictment, between early 2005 and mid-2007, Cabelly performed work on behalf of the Republic of Sudan, a country currently on the State Department’s State Sponsors of Terrorism list, without the approval of the U.S. government as is required by law under the Sudanese sanctions regulations. In an effort to make money, Cabelly brokered business contracts and transactions benefiting Sudan. He also provided Sudan with U.S. government information that was sensitive and controlled. All the while, Cabelly affirmatively misrepresented to U.S. officials the nature of his relationship with Sudan, as well as his relationship with the foreign entities doing business in Sudan.

Among other acts alleged in the indictment, Cabelly engaged in illicit contractual relationships with the oil industry in Sudan, operating as an intermediary between Sudanese government officials and oil company executives and a foreign oil company, and sought additional investors on behalf of that foreign oil company so that it could do business in the Sudan. He also allegedly provided strategic advice and counsel to Sudanese officials, including in the areas of economic development and trade, especially as it pertained to the development of the country’s petroleum natural resource and its government controlled airline industry. 

According to the indictment, Cabelly was paid for these services by Sudanese government officials as well as by a foreign oil company. Cabelly allegedly directed a foreign oil company to deposit over $180,000 of the fees he received in an offshore account he maintained in the Cook Islands, an account he used to launder the funds in order to conceal the fact that it was proceeds obtained in violation of the sanctions. Cabelly also concealed his travel to the Sudan from U.S. authorities by misusing U.S. passports.

“The conduct alleged in this indictment is broad in scope and very serious,” said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security. “We will continue to pursue anyone who seeks to violate U.S. sanctions.”

“Those who pursue their own personal gain at the expense of our nation’s trade embargoes can expect to be aggressively prosecuted,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips. “Our national security depends on strict enforcement of U.S. export laws such as the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations.”

“The FBI is committed to enforcing all laws pertaining to U.S. persons and the representations of foreign governments to ensure those relationships aren’t counterproductive to our fight against terrorism,” said Joseph Persichini, Jr., Assistant Director for the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

“The activities detailed in this indictment—including facilitation of Sudanese oil transactions—would represent serious violations of U.S. sanctions law. We commend our federal law enforcement colleagues for their dedicated and collaborative efforts,” said Adam J. Szubin, Director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The investigation was conducted through the collaborative efforts of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also provided substantial assistance and cooperation throughout the course of the investigation.

The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael C. DiLorenzo from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and Trial Attorney Patrick T. Murphy from the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

The public is reminded that a criminal indictment contains mere allegations and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.